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Helios Education Foundation and YUHSD announce Class of 2023 RNY scholarship recipients

Helios Education Foundation and Yuma Union High School District announced six recipients of the annual Ready Now Yuma Scholarship this week. 

The scholarship is worth up to $15,000 each year and is renewable up to three additional years and is part of Helios’ more than $3 million investment over 10 years in YUHSD students through the scholarship program, which began with the Class of 2019. 

“These students worked extremely hard and are deserving of this scholarship,” said Grace Smith Kaus, director of postsecondary success initiatives for Helios Education Foundation. “We are excited for the bright future that’s ahead for them.”

Students were given an oversized check and balloons by their school counselor and principal as part of a surprise presentation on campus. A video compilation of the surprises can be viewed on YUHSD’s YouTube channel: 

“It means a lot because my family struggles a lot with money,” said San Luis High School senior Dana Valdenebro, who plans to study computer science at the University of Arizona next year. “So, I was applying to all of the scholarships I could to get the money to go to a university and not have a lot of debt. I’m really happy. I feel relieved. I’m shaking right now because I didn’t expect it.” 

The Ready Now Yuma Scholars program supports seniors with financial need attending an accredited post-secondary institution and pursuing any field of study. Students must be enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university and pursuing a 4-year degree. This scholarship is renewable if students are in good standing and maintain the required GPA.

More than 80 qualified applicants were considered by Helios and the Arizona Community Foundation. 

“I’m blessed,” said Yuma High School senior Raymond Nunez, who will attend Northern Arizona University in the fall. “I plan to major in civil engineering and come back and help the city with new and improved infrastructure.” 

Here are this year’s recipients, their high school, and what college or university they plan to attend: 

Taylor Rice, Cibola High School, Northern Arizona University
Trinity Guiden, Gila Ridge High School, Arizona State University
Kristy Mojardin, Kofa High School, Arizona State University 
Dana Valdenebro, San Luis High School, University of Arizona
Jacey Leon, Vista High School, Northern Arizona University
Raymond Nunez, Yuma High School, Northern Arizona University

More about Helios Education Foundation:
Helios Education Foundation exists to support postsecondary attainment for low-income and under-represented communities in Arizona and Florida. Driven by the fundamental beliefs of Community, Equity, Investment, and Partnership, Helios has invested more than $300 million in partnerships and initiatives focused on improving education outcomes in the two states they serve.

Eric Patten